About Tarka

The first 6 years of a child’s life mark the formative phase of their cerebral development. Tarka’s classes have been designed with pediatric experts and healthcare professionals to optimise your child’s development in this period. Our experienced team will provide a fun and flexible programme designed to nurture your child’s coordination, communication skills and confidence.

The Science

During our early years, our brain is extremely active. Between 700 and 1000 new neural connections are made every second, and these connections determine the brain’s architecture and thus our lifelong capacity to learn, adapt and enjoy great mental and physical health. Reinforced and repeated use of these positive neural pathways is essential for good health and happiness; we aim to make the most of this vital period in a child’s development. As one study by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University remarks, “It is easier and less costly to form strong brain circuits during the early years than it is to intervene or ‘fix’ them later.”

The Brain

Exercise helps children to learn. Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, and a 2007 study showed that 3 months of exercise increases blood flow to the brain’s memory and learning centres by 30%. In addition, fit children have been shown to have bigger hippocampi and basal ganglia – these areas manage complex thinking, attention to detail and the ability to coordinate actions and thoughts. In a study of 9-10 year olds, fitter children had brains 12% larger than their peers: in rational memory tests, fitter children scored 30% higher on academic tests, especially in maths and science.

Physical Wellbeing

The National Child Measurement Programme, which measures the height and weight of a million children in England every year, found in 2014/15 that 9.1% children aged 4-5 were obese, and another 12.8% were overweight. This causes broad damage to their health, putting them at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, asthma and even Type 2 diabetes. Studies show that exercise, like writing, is a skill that can be learned. Once mastered, evidence suggests that children are far less likely to encounter obesity in later life. It’s Tarka’s goal to teach children this skill.

Playing Sport

While our classes use generic exercises, providing the basis for your child to enjoy playing sport can be extremely beneficial. Children who do so at school tend to go on to have higher status careers than those who don’t. One study even showed that 81% of female business executives played team sports as girls. Experts are still debating the reasons why, but playing sport at school certainly seems to contribute to later success.

Aiding Learning

A recent study conducted in the Netherlands contrasted sedentary maths and spelling lessons with new physically active ones, where students aged between 5 and 7 were asked to jump on the spot in answer to their times tables. After two years, the children in active classes performed significantly higher on tests. Physical activity makes the brain fertile for learning, something our educational games seek to take advantage of.